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Wisconsin 3rd Congressional GOP candidates talk masks, reopening schools

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Congressional Debate Van Orden versus Ebben 07-31-2020 Cropped

Wisconsin (WQOW) - Wisconsin's 3rd Congressional District seat is on the ballot for next month's election, and on Friday, the Republican Primary candidates went head-to-head on Wisconsin Public Radio.

Jessi Ebben of Eau Claire and Derrick Van Orden of Hager City spoke about a number of topics including the new mask mandate and schools reopening this fall.

Ebben said the mask mandate is an infringement on our rights and that law enforcement agencies in rural communities already have limited resources and don't have time to enforce the new rule.

Van Orden echoed similar sentiments saying there needs to be a balance of personal rights and public safety.

As for reopening schools, Van Orden said not every child has access to broadband at home, so we need to get them back in the classroom.

"How are these children going to learn if they don't have a computer, the capacity to do it?  They need to be able to go to class safely so that they can interact with their fellow students in the same age group, they can have a qualified teacher who cares deeply about their education, standing in front of them answering their questions when they ask them," said Van Orden.

Ebben said we need to reopen schools safely and securely. She referenced a year-round elementary school in Tomah that already has kids back in class.

"They are sticking within their classroom.  The art teacher, the gym teacher, comes into the room.  Lunch is had in the room.  Recess is with their school, with their class specifically, so they are doing everything they can to keep confined, to keep isolated, and to do this as smartly and as safely as possible with the resources available," said Ebben.

WPR will host another debate on Thursday, August 6, featuring Democratic primary candidates Mark Neumann and incumbent Ron Kind, both from La Crosse.

Katrina Lim

Katrina Lim joined the News 18 team in August 2019 as a multimedia journalist. She was born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey but has lived in all time zones of the contiguous U.S.A.

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